Public Support to Innovation: The Colombian COLCIENCIAS' Experience
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This paper aims at evaluating the impacts of innovation promotion programs administrated by the Colombian Innovation Agency (COLCIENCIAS). Although the agency implements multiple programs, the focus of these research are on those programs that provide financial incentives for R&D (matching grants and contingent loans) and at the same time encourage the formation of linkages between firms, universities and other public research organizations. Different from previous evaluations, a nice feature of the current research is the possibility to use a very rich dataset in order follow-up the economic performance of the beneficiaries over a long period of time. The results show that after controlling for both observable and unobservable difference with the control group, COLCIENCIAS programs have been very effective in increasing firm labor productivity and that the main channel behind this result is product diversification (product innovation).